Legislative Update

Monday, September 23, 2013
Lawmakers Debate New Transportation Funding Formula

The N.C. General Assembly’s Joint Transportation Oversight Committee met on September 10 to receive a briefing on implementation of the new Strategic Mobility Formula. Legislators and Department of Transportation (DOT) officials continue to examine the details of the transportation funding overhaul, working on criteria that will determine future projects. The new law, passed during the recent legislative session, is a new spending formula for transportation projects based on local input, with objective data-driven analysis.

Specifically, the group looked at the breakdown of how different criteria are weighed and the issue of local input. Debate centered around money set aside for non-highway projects, specifically about road projects that get extra credit for linking rural workers with urban job centers and whether transit investments deserve the same consideration.

In addition, members discussed at length the responsibility of local elected officials who serve on urban and rural transportation planning boards. The formula says DOT’s analysis counts for 70 percent of the decision on regional projects and 50 percent on projects at the DOT division level, with “local” input taking up the rest. Local priorities are supposed to count for 50 percent of the decision when transportation projects are approved at the local level, 30 percent on regional projects. However, the DOT has said it will delegate half of this “local” vote to its 14 division engineers. Two regional planning organizations came forward with formulas that would be different from the state standard. The divisions point out that they include rural, military and coastal areas.

Committee members expressed concerns about changes to the formula and sent a list of questions back to the working groups. The next meeting will address specific legislative concerns:

  • Should accessibility and connectivity be added back into the regional formula for highways?
  • Should divisions be able to create their own highway formula?
  • Should the formula be more uniform and streamlined?
  • Is the 50/50 voting split between MPOs/RPOs and the division engineer fair?

Click here to view Kerri Burke’s presentation to the chamber’s Transportation Committee on Sept. 18.

Review the committee presentations:

Posted by: Kerri Burke, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
August 13, 2013 Legislative Update

General Assembly Adjournment-Chamber Agenda Update

On Friday, July 26, the General Assembly finished up its business for 2013. The General Assembly will return for short session on May 14, 2014. When lawmakers return May 14, any bills still in the process will be eligible for consideration. There is some speculation that the General Assembly could hold a special session in the fall as the governor has expressed a strong desire to pass a larger energy bill. Lawmakers will meet in committees between now and May to study various topics and recommend legislation.

Currently, 37 bills are still pending signature from the governor. Once those bills are signed into law, approximately 400 bills will have been passed into law this year. The Charlotte Chamber adopted its 2013-2014 legislative agenda focused on job creation and advocating pro-business policies that deliver innovative programs and services. Below is the list and status of those bills the chamber tracked during this recent legislative session.

*In order for a bill to continue to be eligible for consideration in the 2014 General Assembly session, it must have passed its originating chamber and “crossed over” to the other chamber. Crossover is a self-imposed deadline from lawmakers, requiring nonbudget bills to clear either the House or the Senate. Bills that did not pass through one of the chambers by the deadline are effectively dead in 2014.

Bill Tracking

Job Creation

 

HB4

Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvency & Program Changes

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

HB6/HB53

NC Right to Work Secret Ballot Constitutional Amendment

House Rules /House Rules-Eligible in 2014

HB69

Opportunity Advancement Zones

House Commerce-
Eligible in 2014

HB100/SB536

Workplaces/Paid Sick Days

House Commerce/Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB115

State Minimum Wage/Inflation Increases

House Commerce-
Eligible in 2014

H208

Felony Convictions/Job Applications

House Commerce-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB73

Local Workforce/Dislocated Workers

 

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

SB76

Domestic Energy Jobs Act

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

SJR147/HJR55

Reform Workforce Development

Senate Commerce/Passed House; Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

SB329

Unemployment Insurance/Disabled Workers

Senate Commerce-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB522

New Markets Jobs Act

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

SB629

NC Back to Work Program

Senate Education-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB645

UI/Work Sharing Option for Employers

Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB943

One NC Fund-Small Business Technology & Innovation Account

House Commerce-
Eligible in 2014

HB872

Protect NC Right to Work Status

Passed House; Senate Commerce-
Eligible in 2014

 

Regulatory Reform

 

HB8/SB636

Eminent Domain

Passed House; Senate Judiciary I/Passed House; Senate Judiciary I-
Eligible in 2014

HB27

Workers Comp Fund

Passed House; Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

 

HB74

Periodic Review & Expiration of Rules

RATIFIED

SB113/HB89

DENR Support for Regional Water Supply System

Passed Senate; House Environment/Passed House; Senate Environment-
Eligible in 2014

HB120

Building Inspections/Local Consistency

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB298/SB365

Affordable & Reliable Energy Act-Renewable Energy

Passed House Commerce; House Public Utilities/Passed Senate Finance; Senate Commerce-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB10/H1011

Government Reorganization & Efficiency

Passed Senate; Passed House; Conference Committee/Passed House; Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

SB34

Eliminate Obsolete Boards & Commissions

Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

S44

Workers Comp Coverage

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

SB36

APA Technical Changes

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

H112

GBICC Workers Comp

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB97

Property Tax/Deannexation

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB112/HB94

Amend Environmental Laws

Passed Senate, Passed House; Senate Rules/Passed House; Passed Senate; House Environment-
Eligible in 2014

SB154/HB265

Auto Insurance Regulatory Modernization

Senate Insurance/House Insurance-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB186

Notice Publication by Counties & Cities

Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB171

Limit Regulation of Greenhouse Emissions

Senate Environment-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB279

Transfer Environmental Permits

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB415/S429

Limit Asbestos-Related Liability

House Judiciary/Senate Judiciary-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB670

Workers Comp Fund/Safety Workers Allocation

Senate Commerce-
Eligible in 2014

SB648

NC Commerce Protection Act of 2013 (Tort Reform)

Passed Senate Commerce; Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

SB612

Regulatory Reform Act of 2013

Passed Senate; House Regulatory Reform-
Eligible in 2014

SB513

NC Water Security Act

Senate Environment-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB892

No Fiscal Note for Rule Repeal

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB127

Economic Development Modifications/Department of Commerce Reorganization

Passed Senate; Passed House; Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

 

Taxes

 

HB82

Internal Revenue Code Update

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB101

Repeal Estate Tax

Passed House; Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

HB193

Expand Uses for Charlotte Local Taxes

RATIFIED

SB93

Expand Aviation Sales Tax Exemption

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

SB414/HB520

Convert Air Carrier Fuel Refund to Exemption

Senate Rules/House Finance-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB363

Business Tax Reductions & Reforms

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

SB394

Lower Tax Rates for a Stronger NC Economy

Senate Finance-

Eligible in 2014

SB350

Privilege Tax for Unregulated Utilities

 

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

 

SB503

Exempt Start-Ups from Privilege License Taxes

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

SB669

Reduce Individual Income Tax Rate

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

SB677

Corporate Income Tax Reduction & Reform

Senate Finance-
Eligible in 2014

HB994

Film Tax Credit-Nonrefundable

House Rules-
Eligible in 2014

HB946

Extend Qualified Business Venture Tax Credit

House Finance-

Eligible in 2014

HB998

Tax Simplification & Reduction Act (Tax Reform Compromise)

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

 

Transportation

 

SB81

Charlotte Regional Airport Authority

RATIFIED

HB10

Loop Study

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB110

Public Contracts/Project Labor

RATIFIED ; Signed by the Governor

HB134

Repeal Garden Parkway Authorization

House Transportation-
Eligible in 2014

HB157

Limit Use of Highway Fund Credit Balance

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB102/HB159

Public Infrastructure Oversight Commission

Senate Rules/House Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB104

Eliminate Sunset for Funding Critical Infrastructure Needs

Senate Finance-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB218

No Tolls on I-95

Senate Transportation-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB267

NCGA Prior Approval/Interstate Tolling

Passed House, Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

SB711

Highway Trust Fund/Funding Mechanisms

Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

SB716

Repeal Certain Turnpike Projects Authorization

Senate Transportation-
Eligible in 2014

SB563

NC Infrastructure Development Act

Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB601

Transportation Tolling Statutes

Senate Transportation-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB609

Regional Transportation Authorities

Senate Transportation-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB932

Remove Turnpike Authority on Garden Parkway

House Transportation-
Eligible in 2014

HB966

Cap Fuel Tax

House Transportation-
Eligible in 2014

HB857

Public Private Partnerships/Design-Build

RATIFIED

HB979

DOT Funding to Support Economic Development

House Appropriations-
Eligible in 2014

HB817

Strategic Transportation Investments
 (Governor’s Plan)

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

 

Education

 

HB97

Lottery Funds for Digital Learning

Passed House; Senate Rules-
Eligible in 2014

HB23

Digital Learning Competencies

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB44

Transition to Digital Learning

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB45

Internet Access for Public Schools

Passed House; Senate Appropriations-
Eligible in 2014

HB176

Charter School Election

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB190

Guns on Education Property

Senate Rules-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB361

Excellent Public Schools Act of 2013

Passed Senate Education; Senate Appropriations-
Eligible in 2014

HB521

Governance of Department of Public Instruction

House Education-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB597

Dropout Prevention & Recovery Pilot Program

Senate Education-
Failed Crossover Deadline

SB480

UNC Capital Improvement Projects

RATIFIED

HB509

School Calendar Flexibility/Charlotte-Meck Schools

House Commerce-
Failed Crossover Deadline

HB719

Education Improvement Act of 2013

Passed House; Senate Ways & Means-
Eligible in 2014

Posted by: Kerri Burke, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
July 30, 2013 Legislative Update

General Assembly Adjourns 2013 Long Session

Lawmakers adjourned the 2013 “long session” with the Senate at 1:43 a.m. on Friday, July 26, and the House later that morning at 11:30 a.m. Before adjourning, both chambers held lengthy debates on a flurry of bills, including the Charlotte airport, voter ID and comprehensive regulatory reform. Both chambers adopted an adjournment resolution that provides for the General Assembly to reconvene on May 14 for the 2014 short session. The resolution included standard language consistent with past adjournment resolutions regarding what bills may be considered in the short sessions and the filing deadlines for bills. When lawmakers return on May 14, any bills still in the process will be eligible for consideration. There is some speculation the General Assembly could hold a special session in the fall as the governor has expressed a strong desire for a larger energy bill to pass. Lawmakers will meet in committees between now and May to study various topics and recommend legislation.

State Budget Receives Final Approval
 

The House and Senate gave their final approval to a $20.6 billion budget, setting changes to state education, health care and economic development. The final Senate vote was 32-17, and the House approved it 65-53. The 2013-2015 budget increases overall state spending by 2.5 percent while instituting the recently passed tax reduction plan that lowers the corporate and personal income tax rates. Of note, the spending plan includes:

Education

  • Education Reform: Adds $23.6 million to continue funding the Excellent Public Schools Act (Education Reform).
  • Teacher Tenure/Merit Pay: Replaces teacher tenure with four-year contracts that are renewed based on job performance and annual pay raises for the most effective teachers.

Health and Human Services

  • Medicaid: Appropriates more than $1.5 billion in additional state dollars and permits the executive branch to develop a comprehensive plan for Medicaid reform.
  • Pre-K: Allocates $12.4 million for an additional 2,500 pre-K slots.

Transportation

  • Strategic Mobility Fund: Fully implements and funds the governor’s transportation reform plan, which consolidates various funding streams and prioritizes projects at the state, regional and local levels.
  • DMV: Funds the replacement of IT systems and extends operating hours at driver license offices.

Commerce

  • Rural Economic Development: Defunds the N.C. Rural Center and creates a new Rural Economic Development Division within the Department of Commerce with the task of improving rural services and addressing rural needs.
  • JDIG and JMAC: Provides $60 million for Job Development Investment Grants and $14 million for the Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund over two years.

 Environment and Natural Resources

  • Water: Maintains funding to spur clean water initiatives and improve water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Shale Gas Development: Allocates $1.25 million for an expansion of shale gas sector development.

Justice and Public Safety

  • State Highway Patrol: Restores funding for 69 trooper positions and provides increased funding for fuel, equipment and training.
  • Magistrates/Officers: Adds 22 magistrates and 175 probation and parole officers across the state.

Click here to review a summary of key budget provisions.

Click here to review the full budget.

Click here to review the “money report”.

Governor Signs Tax Reduction Package
After months of negotiations, policy leaders in Raleigh have reached a deal on reforming the state’s tax code. The plan would eliminate the current three-tiered personal income tax structure and set a flat rate at 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.75 percent in 2015. The plan allows a standard deduction of $15,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $12,000 for heads of household and $7,500 for single and married taxpayers filing separately. The proposal would permit deductions for unlimited charitable contributions but cap deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes at $20,000. The compromise tax plan would eliminate some tax loopholes and exemptions, while extending others that were set to expire and keeping others unchanged. The plan would make no changes to franchise tax laws and instead study that issue, along with a number of other issues, during the interim between sessions. The package now goes to the governor for his signature, and he is expected to approve the plan.

Click here
to review those provisions included in the tax package.

Charlotte Airport Authority Bill: Last Minute Changes

Shortly before adjourning, the House unveiled a rewritten bill changing the governance of the Charlotte airport. The measure deletes the law passed earlier this month that would have turned control of the airport over to a regional authority. Under the new plan, a 13-member commission would run the airport, with seven of the 13 members appointed by the city. The new law makes the airport a department of the city, although it gives the commission control over the airport’s finances. The city would retain approval of bond issuance and eminent domain. But the commission would oversee daily operations, control airport finances, and would have the ability to hire and fire the aviation director and other employees. Under the bill, the commission's first aviation director would be the airport's leader on Feb. 14, which would restore longtime Aviation Director Jerry Orr to his position. His initial compensation would be the same he received in February, and he would be entitled to a continuation of his retirement benefits. Under the earlier legislation, an 11-member Charlotte Airport Authority with only four appointments by the City Council and mayor would have taken ownership and control of Charlotte Douglas.

Since it is a local bill, it became law immediately without the governor’s signature.

Review a summary of the new airport law.

Legislators Pass Compromise Gun Bill

The House and Senate found middle ground on a comprehensive gun bill. The compromise allows concealed permit-holders to carry their weapons into movie theatres and other places that charge admissions fees, restaurants and bars where alcohol is sold, and parades and funeral processions, unless the owner of the premises posts a notice prohibiting guns. The new law also allows those with concealed carry permits to keep their guns in locked compartments in vehicles on college campuses and K-12 school properties. A conference committee approved the measure after negotiators removed the controversial provision that would have eliminated the requirement that handgun buyers first obtain purchase permits from their local sheriffs. The original version of the bill would have allowed concealed carry permit-holders to take handguns into bars or carry them in locked cars on college campuses and government parking lots.

Governor McCrory signed the gun bill into law on July 29.

Election Laws: Changes Pass Before Adjournment

Before leaving Raleigh, lawmakers passed broad changes to the state’s election laws.The House and Senate passed the measure along party lines (House, 73-41;Senate, 33-14). The measure reduces the early voting period from 17 to 10 days and eliminates same-day voter registration during early voting. Counties would still be required to provide the same number of hours for early voting but would prohibit counties from extending early voting hours on the Saturday before election day.

Other provisions include:

  • Eliminate pre-registration for 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • Prohibit university students from using college IDs.
  • Outlaw paid voter registration drives.
  • Eliminate straight-ticket voting.
  • Eliminate provisional voting if someone shows up at the wrong precinct.
  • Allow any registered voter of a county to challenge the eligibility of a voter.
  • Move the presidential primary to the first Tuesday after South Carolina's primary if that state holds its primary before March 15. That would mean North Carolina would have two primaries during presidential elections.
  • Study electronic filing for campaign returns.
  • Increase the maximum allowed campaign contribution per election from $4,000 to $5,000.
  • Loosen disclosure requirements in campaign ads paid for by independent committees.
  • Repeal the publicly funded election program for appellate court judges.
  • Repeal the requirement that candidates endorse ads run by their campaigns. 

Governor Contemplates Veto on Regulatory Reform

Before adjourning, the House and Senate passed comprehensive regulatory reform, which primarily focuses on an overhaul of environmental regulations. House Bill 74 includes a wide range of provisions covering bed-and-breakfast establishments, carbon monoxide detectors at hotels, and changes to regulations for landfills and billboards. The governor has not indicated whether he will veto the legislation but has expressed concern over certain provisions.

Changes to State Personnel Laws

Legislators passed a package of changes to state personnel laws, a priority of Gov. McCrory. Within the changes, the number of political appointees in state government will increase, raising the number of "at-will" employees who can be hired and fired by the governor without cause to 1,500 from 1,000. It also streamlines the process for dealing with workers who have been suspended or are under investigation.

Legislators Receive “Legal Standing”

In the last hours of session Friday morning, state lawmakers voted to give legislative leaders equal standing with the attorney general to intervene in constitutional challenges to state laws. Senate Bill 473 states that the speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate, as agents of the state, shall jointly have standing to intervene on behalf of the General Assembly as a party in any judicial proceeding challenging a North Carolina statute or provision of the North Carolina Constitution. When the constitutionality of a state law is challenged, it is the attorney general's role to defend the state law. The change appears to set up a scenario in which Republican legislative leaders could take a position contrary to the attorney general in a court case on that law or any other. The president pro tem and speaker could also step in to defend a law if the attorney general decides not to do so.

The governor has 30 days to approve Senate Bill 473.

Posted by: Kerri Burke, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
July 23, 2013 Legislative Update

House and Senate Reach Budget Compromise…Countdown to Adjournment

House and Senate leaders reached an agreement over the weekend on a $20.6 billion state budget. The 2013-2015 budget increases overall state spending by 2.5 percent while instituting the recently passed tax reduction plan that lowers the corporate and personal income tax rates. Of note, the negotiated spending plan includes:

Education

  • Education Reform: Adds $23.6 million to continue funding the Excellent Public Schools Act (Education Reform).
  • Teacher Tenure/Merit Pay: Replaces teacher tenure with four-year contracts that are renewed based on job performance and annual pay raises for the most effective teachers.

Health and Human Services

  • Medicaid: Appropriates more than $1.5 billion in additional state dollars and permits the executive branch to develop a comprehensive plan for Medicaid reform.
  • Pre-K: Allocates $12.4 million for an additional 2,500 pre-K slots.

Transportation

  • Strategic Mobility Fund: Fully implements and funds the governor’s transportation reform plan, which consolidates various funding streams and prioritizes projects at the state, regional and local levels.
  • DMV: Funds the replacement of IT systems and extends operating hours at driver license offices.

Commerce

  • Rural Economic Development: Defunds the N.C. Rural Center and creates a new Rural Economic Development Division within the Department of Commerce with the task of improving rural services and addressing rural needs.
  • JDIG and JMAC: Provides $60 million for Job Development Investment Grants and $14 million for the Job Maintenance and Capital Development Fund over two years.

 Environment and Natural Resources

  • Water: Maintains funding to spur clean water initiatives and improve water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Shale Gas Development: Allocates $1.25 million for an expansion of shale gas sector development.

Justice and Public Safety

  • State Highway Patrol: Restores funding for 69 trooper positions and provides increased funding for fuel, equipment and training.
  • Magistrates/Officers: Adds 22 magistrates and 175 probation and parole officers across the state.

Click here to review a summary of key budget provisions.

Click here to review the full budget.

Click here to review the “money report”.

Adjournment Schedule...
House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) indicated late last week a plan for the House to hold votes on the budget bill Tuesday and Wednesday, with the session adjourning Wednesday or Thursday. Senate leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) also expressed optimism about a timeline that would have the Senate adjourning this week.

Update: General Assembly Passes Tax Reduction Package

After months of negotiations, policy leaders in Raleigh have reached a deal on reforming the state’s tax code. The plan would eliminate the current three-tiered personal income tax structure and set a flat rate at 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.75 percent in 2015 and allow a standard deduction of $15,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $12,000 for heads of household and $7,500 for single and married taxpayers filing separately. The proposal would permit deductions for unlimited charitable contributions but cap at $20,000 deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes. The compromise tax plan would eliminate some tax loopholes and exemptions, while extending others that were set to expire and keeping the rest unchanged. The plan would make no changes to franchise tax laws but instead study that issue, along with a number of other issues, during the interim between sessions. The package now goes to the governor for his signature, which he is expected to approve.

Click here to review those provisions included in the tax package.

  • Tax Credits
    Included within the tax package is the elimination of about four dozen of the current 300 tax breaks, exemptions and loopholes in the tax code, with others scheduled to sunset in future years. Those eliminated include child care expenses, nutritional supplements sold by chiropractors, newspapers, certain bakery goods, and sales tax holidays for school supplies and Energy Star appliances. The compromise would also eliminate credits for construction of dwelling units for the handicapped, certain real property donations, conservation tillage equipment and construction of poultry composting facilities, among others. The bill also allows for the scheduled sunset of other tax programs, including credits for N.C. State Ports Authority charges and the recycling of oyster shells in 2014, as well as the film production and low-income housing tax credits in 2015. The tax plan extends a few tax exemptions, including sales tax refunds for aviation fuel used by passenger airlines and motorsports teams, as well as sales tax refunds for certain property purchased by racing teams. Those tax breaks are extended until the start of 2016 under the plan.

Update: Charlotte Airport Authority Bill Becomes Law

The House and Senate have approved legislation that would create an 11-member Charlotte airport authority. Senate Bill 81, Charlotte Douglas International Airport as passed no longer has appointments by the governor and legislative leaders. Instead the mayor and City Council each have two appointments, half of whom would have to live in west Charlotte. Mecklenburg and five surrounding counties, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union, would each have one appointment. Those 10 members would appoint the 11th member. The bill also specifies that the authority’s first executive director will be the city’s aviation director. Unlike earlier versions, the bill also calls for the authority to pay the city unspecified compensation for “unreimbursed or unrecovered cost to the city of acquiring the airport property” not paid with airport revenues or federal money. As a local bill, it becomes law without Gov. McCrory’s signature.

Shortly after the final Senate vote late last week, a judge granted a restraining order on behalf of the city that halted the changeover. Following the vote, City Attorney Bob Hagemann appeared before a judge in Charlotte to seek a temporary restraining order to immediately halt the change. He said one reason the city is seeking the order is that an airport bond trustee has asserted that the transfer would cause notice of default. Hagemann also said that the law should have been a general law, not a local law, and that the transfer should not take place before the federal government can decide whether an authority is capable of overseeing the airport.

Senate Stalls Eminent Domain Constitutional Amendment

The Senate has stalled the recent House decision to add eminent domain language to a bill covering hunting and boating safety rules. As reported last week, the House passed legislation that will place a constitutional amendment on the November 2014 ballot. The constitutional amendment would restrict eminent domain in all cases except for public use, rejecting the U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Kelo v. City of New London, which ruled in favor of the city, upholding the seizure of land for private gain. Rep. Chuck McGrady added the provision to an agency bill, Senate Bill 636, Wildlife Resource Commission Penalty Changes, with the hopes that this would give the Senate an incentive to pass the provision, since several other attempts to pass the constitutional amendment have stalled in the Senate earlier this year. The Senate did not concur with the changes and instead inserted the original language of SB636 into an unrelated House bill.

Immigration Reform Turned into a Study

After spending months working on a wide-ranging immigration bill, the House on Tuesday voted instead to study several issues. House Bill 786: RECLAIM NC Act, originally would have directed the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue restricted one-year permits and identification cards to people living in the U.S. without legal permission. The bill also would have increased penalties for having or making false identification papers and spelled out when police could verify the immigration status of someone lawfully stopped or arrested. The amended bill now directs the Department of Public Safety to study the immigration reform proposal. The agency would give findings and make recommendations to a legislative oversight committee by March 2014. One non-study provision that remained in the bill was a prohibition on companies to receive state and local contracts unless they comply with E-Verify requirements for employees.

Unemployment Insurance Changes

The House passed a slim package of technical corrections to the state's unemployment law, which went into effect July 1. In particular, the measure clarifies when workers would lose eligibility for benefits due to participating in an ineligible training program. It also clarifies other provisions dealing with the loss of benefits when "suitable work" is available for a person on unemployment. The Senate must now approve changes.

Chamber’s 2013-2014 Legislative Agenda

The Charlotte Chamber adopted its 2013-2014 legislative agenda focused on job creation and advocating pro-business policies. Below is the list of those bills the chamber is tracking in the General Assembly.

Bill Tracking

Job Creation

 

HB4

Unemployment Insurance Fund Solvency & Program Changes

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

HB6/HB53

NC Right to Work Secret Ballot Constitutional Amendment

House Rules /House Rules

HB69

Opportunity Advancement Zones

House Commerce

HB100/SB536

Workplaces/Paid Sick Days

House Commerce/Senate Rules

HB115

State Minimum Wage/Inflation Increases

House Commerce

H208

Felony Convictions/Job Applications

House Commerce

SB73

Local Workforce/Dislocated Workers

 

Passed Senate; House Commerce

SB76

Domestic Energy Jobs Act

Conference Committee

SJR147/HJR55

Reform Workforce Development

Senate Commerce/Passed House; Senate Rules

SB329

Unemployment Insurance/Disabled Workers

Senate Commerce

SB522

New Markets Jobs Act

Senate Finance

SB629

NC Back to Work Program

Senate Education

SB645

UI/Work Sharing Option for Employers

Senate Rules

HB943

One NC Fund-Small Business Technology & Innovation Account

House Commerce

HB872

Protect NC Right to Work Status

Passed House; Senate Commerce

 

Regulatory Reform

 

HB8/SB636

Eminent Domain

Passed House; Senate Judiciary I/Passed House; Senate Judiciary I

HB27

Workers Comp Fund

Passed House; Senate Rules

 

HB74

Periodic Review & Expiration of Rules

Passed House; Passed Senate-House Calendar 7/22

SB113/HB89

DENR Support for Regional Water Supply System

Passed Senate; House Environment/Passed House; Senate Environment

HB120

Building Inspections/Local Consistency

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB298/SB365

Affordable & Reliable Energy Act-Renewable Energy

Passed House Commerce; House Public Utilities/Passed Senate Finance; Senate Commerce

SB10/H1011

Government Reorganization & Efficiency

Passed Senate; Passed House; Conference Committee/Passed House; Senate Rules

SB34

Eliminate Obsolete Boards & Commissions

Senate Rules

S44

Workers Comp Coverage

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

SB36

APA Technical Changes

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB51/H112

GBICC Workers Comp

Passed Senate/Passed House; Senate Rules

SB97

Property Tax/Deannexation

RATIFIED, Signed by the Governor

SB112/HB94

Amend Environmental Laws

Passed Senate, Passed House; Senate Rules/Passed House; Passed Senate; House Environment

SB154/HB265

Auto Insurance Regulatory Modernization

Senate Insurance/House Insurance

SB186

Notice Publication by Counties & Cities

Senate Rules

SB171

Limit Regulation of Greenhouse Emissions

Senate Environment

HB279

Transfer Environmental Permits

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB415/S429

Limit Asbestos-Related Liability

House Judiciary/Senate Judiciary

SB670

Workers Comp Fund/Safety Workers Allocation

Senate Commerce

SB648

NC Commerce Protection Act of 2013 (Tort Reform)

Passed Senate Commerce; Senate Rules

SB612

Regulatory Reform Act of 2013

Passed Senate; House Regulatory Reform

SB513

NC Water Security Act

Senate Environment

HB892

No Fiscal Note for Rule Repeal

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB127

Economic Development Modifications/Department of Commerce Reorganization

Passed Senate; Passed House; Senate Finance

 

Taxes

 

HB82

Internal Revenue Code Update

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB101

Repeal Estate Tax

Passed House; Senate Finance

HB193

Expand Uses for Charlotte Local Taxes

RATIFIED

SB93

Expand Aviation Sales Tax Exemption

Senate Finance

SB414/HB520

Convert Air Carrier Fuel Refund to Exemption

Senate Rules/House Finance

SB363

Business Tax Reductions & Reforms

Senate Finance

SB394

Lower Tax Rates for a Stronger NC Economy

Senate Finance

SB350

Privilege Tax for Unregulated Utilities

 

Senate Finance

 

SB503

Exempt Start-Ups from Privilege License Taxes

Senate Finance

SB669

Reduce Individual Income Tax Rate

Senate Finance

SB677

Corporate Income Tax Reduction & Reform

Senate Finance

HB994

Film Tax Credit-Nonrefundable

House Rules

HB946

Extend Qualified Business Venture Tax Credit

House Finance

HB998

Tax Simplification & Reduction Act (Tax Reform Compromise)

RATIFIED

 

Transportation

 

SB81

Charlotte Regional Airport Authority

RATIFIED

HB10

Loop Study

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB110

Public Contracts/Project Labor

RATIFIED ; Signed by the Governor

HB134

Repeal Garden Parkway Authorization

House Transportation

HB157

Limit Use of Highway Fund Credit Balance

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB102/HB159

Public Infrastructure Oversight Commission

Senate Rules/House Rules

SB104

Eliminate Sunset for Funding Critical Infrastructure Needs

Senate Finance

SB218

No Tolls on I-95

Senate Transportation

HB267

NCGA Prior Approval/Interstate Tolling

Passed House, Senate Rules

SB711

Highway Trust Fund/Funding Mechanisms

Senate Rules

SB716

Repeal Certain Turnpike Projects Authorization

Senate Transportation

SB563

NC Infrastructure Development Act

Senate Rules

SB601

Transportation Tolling Statutes

Senate Transportation

SB609

Regional Transportation Authorities

Senate Transportation

HB932

Remove Turnpike Authority on Garden Parkways

House Transportation

HB966

Cap Fuel Tax

House Transportation

HB857

Public Private Partnerships/Design-Build

Passed House; Passed Senate Finance, Calendared for 7/23

HB979

DOT Funding to Support Economic Development

House Appropriations

HB817

Strategic Transportation Investments
 (Governor’s Plan)

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

 

Education

 

HB97

Lottery Funds for Digital Learning

Passed House; Senate Rules

HB23

Digital Learning Competencies

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB44

Transition to Digital Learning

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

HB45

Internet Access for Public Schools

Passed House; Senate Appropriations

HB176

Charter School Election

RATIFIED; Signed by the Governor

SB190

Guns on Education Property

Senate Rules

SB361

Excellent Public Schools Act of 2013

Passed Senate Education; Senate Appropriations

HB521

Governance of Department of Public Instruction

House Education

SB597

Dropout Prevention & Recovery Pilot Program

Senate Education

SB480

UNC Capital Improvement Projects

Passed Senate; Passed House Finance, Calendared for 7/22

HB509

 

School Calendar Flexibility/Charlotte-Meck Schools

House Commerce

HB719

Education Improvement Act of 2013

Passed House; Senate Ways & Means

Posted by: Kerri Burke, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
July 16, 2013 Legislative Update

Update: Tax Simplification and Reduction Deal Made

After months of negotiations, policy leaders in Raleigh have reached a deal making changes to the state’s tax code. The plan would eliminate the current three-tiered personal income tax structure and set a flat rate at 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.75 percent in 2015 and allow a standard deduction of $15,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, $12,000 for heads of household and $7,500 for single and married taxpayers filing separately. The proposal would permit deductions for unlimited charitable contributions but cap deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes at $20,000. The compromise tax plan would eliminate some tax loopholes and exemptions while extending others that were set to expire and keeping the rest unchanged. The plan would make no changes to franchise tax laws. Instead, that issue, along with a number of other issues, would be studied during the interim between sessions.

Highlights of the negotiated tax proposal include:

Corporate Income Tax

  • Reduces current rate of 6.9 percent to 6 percent in 2014 and 5 percent in 2015 (Could decrease to 4 percent in 2016 and 3 percent in 2017 if revenue growth targets are met).

Tax Credits

  • Extends tax credits for research and development, professional motorsports teams, and aviation fuel for the teams and passenger air carriers until 2016.
  • Phases out other tax credits over time.

Individual Income Tax

  • Creates one bracket of 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.75 percent in 2015.
  • Eliminates personal exemptions but increases standard deduction from $7,500 to $15,000.
  • Eliminates $4,000 deduction on government retirement income and $2,000 private retirement income.
  • Caps property taxes at $20,000.
  • Raises child tax credit from $100 per child to $125 for those with adjusted gross income below $40,000 (eliminated for incomes above).
  • Eliminates in 2014 the $50,000 deduction on certain business-related income.
  • Repeals estate tax.

Sales Tax

  • Expands to include service contracts.
  • Taxes manufactured and modular homes at the full state sales tax rate.
  • Caps the state gas tax through June 30, 2015.
  • Repeals exemptions for nutritional supplements sold by chiropractors and certain newspaper sales.
  • Repeals current 3 percent franchise tax on electricity sales, replacing it with a 6.75 percent combined state and local sales tax rate.
  • Ends excise tax on piped natural gas and replaces it with a combined 7 percent sales tax rate.
  • Repeals sales tax holiday weekend and Energy Star appliance sales tax weekend.
  • Caps sales tax refund for individual nonprofit hospitals, universities and other charities to $45 million annually.

Click here to review the complete tax proposal.
Click here to review a summary of the negotiated tax proposal.

Posted by: Kerri Burke, McGuire Woods Consulting LLC @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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